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27/10/2021, 28/10/2021

General Administration of the Dodecanese: 1948-1955

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After one year of Military Command, the Dodecanese islands were now able to enter a civil administration status, which would allow for their full incorporation to the Greek mainland. With this objective in mind, the General Administration of the islands followed the organisational model of the “New Countries” - namely the territories liberated during the Balkan Wars. The governor of the Dodecanese Administration had the same grade as a Minister, enjoying increased autonomy in decision-making. In response to the request of the Dodecanese people that the General Governor should be from the islands, the Greek authorities appointed doctor Nikolaos Mavris from the island of Kasos to this critical post, who took office on 15 May 1948. Shortly before that, on 7 March 1948, the incorporation of the Dodecanese islands was solemnly celebrated.

 

The work of the members of the “General Administration of the Dodecanese” was just as hard as that of their predecessors. The Civil War had culminated and cast a heavy shadow over Greece, making celebrations inappropriate. Economic stagnation was now a reality. Under the circumstances, the General Administration remained focused on its goal to achieve social recovery and economic growth through local production, tourism and infrastructure. In four years, with the assistance of the Ministries of Restructuring and Agriculture and thanks to the continuous flow of funds under the Marshall plan, the Military and Administrative Commands allocated 28 billion drachmas to infrastructure projects and the care of 32,300 poor people and orphans. They founded hospitals, a sanatorium, orphanages, nursing homes and branches of the Unemployment Fund. The housing problems caused by the bombings were addressed through an expenditure of 5.5 billion drachmas to build houses and provide equipment. In the agricultural sector, aid was given to 1,580 farmer families in 1952 through the distribution of 4400 hectares of land in Rhodes and Kos. Regarding the promotion of tourism, the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) and the General Administration repaired old Italian hotels and organised maritime traffic between the islands. In the first five years of Greek Administration 25,000 tourists were visiting Rhodes every year.

 

Nevertheless, full incorporation was only achieved when the Dodecanese islands started to participate in the political life of Greece, on equal terms. On 5 March 1950, the Dodecanese citizens participated for the first time in parliamentary elections. They elected four Members of the Parliament to represent the islands in the Greek Parliament. Finally, on 23 April 1955, having accomplished its mission, the General Administration was abolished and replaced by the Prefecture of the Dodecanese, operating under the same institutional framework as the rest of the Greek territory. The Union had been completed.